We've taken several family holidays to The Red Sea, but this is the first time to the Hurghada region. The guests at the Stella are mainly from the former Soviet states and at a rough guess make up 80%. The rest is made up of German, Italian, French, Benelux & British (in decending order). There is therefore a bias towards entertaining the Russians/Germans. The evening entertainment is varied and like amateur night at times. Some shows were however very good, as well as some cringingly bad. Also if you are there for two weeks you will find repetition and the daily music is like groundhog day.
The buffet resturaunts were for most of the time like Waterloo station at 5pm on a Friday evening. You had to take great care carrying plates/bowls of hot food with everyone (and small children) all moving in random directions. The seating was good although could do with having the Air Con on at times. The food was average but plentiful so you can generally find something. Also most nights have a theme by country which helps to vary tastes.
A big negative is the hassle you get from the local beach vendors selling trips and additional activities. Although not operated by the hotel they are somehow related i.e. pay the hotel for the privelage. These guys really are pushy salesmen and don't hesitate to disturb you while you are sleeping by the pool. Top tip is to park yourself by the quiet pool to the right of the Hotel where they are prohibited. However you are fair game if you sit by the main pool. Took us 5 days to find that out. The extra activities such as Quad bike desset safari, boat trips etc are priced a little on the high side and you tend to forget what currency you are dealing with at times and lose track of how much things actually cost. The Spa is expensive considering where you are. I had the full works and it's not that great. Furthermore if you want to use the sauna/steam room/jacuzzi it's 10 euro. Most hotels I know this would be free.
If you want a peaceful nights rest ask for rooms way from the main lobby area. Block 60, 70 & 80 would be okay. To be fair all the outdoor entertainment finishes at 11pm sharp, but there are always people hanging around finishing off drinks until well past this time and can be very loud. Also, be sure to use your Do Not Disturb sign on the door otherwise Room service will give you a knock before 9am and often mill around the corridors after 7am sorting themselves out, chatting and smoking. we did ask to move rooms from block 40 to somewhere quieter but apparantly there were no rooms free.
As for all inclusive, well read the details. There are time limits e.g. no free drinks after 11pm. Water in the minibar is however free so take advantage of that. There are a number of boutique shops on the hotel complex. Be on guard. Things that are priced are rediculously expensive (e.g. largish pack of crisps £3), and things that are not priced, barter hard. Some of the shopkeepers are rude, some are very friendly, but all should be working selling Driveways or Double Glazing. There is nowhere near the resort that you can go shopping to find real local atmosphere to pick up a bargain. It's all aimed at getting thr tourist dollar. No question about that.
There are a number of excursions available and one being the boat trip to some islands about an hour away. It's a Snorkelling trip and the snorkelling is good albeit very crowded in the water. Imagine Japanese tourists in London and you get the idea, but it's in the water. This island is sold as 'Paradise' and the pictures on the brochure look fantastic. Stay on the boat. Sure the there are soft coral sands for the first 10 meters of beach and the water is crystal clear, however there is no shelter from the sun, you stop there for about an hour and it's packed solid, boats fill the horizon and little boats that ferry back and forth wreck what peace there could be with their outboards. Paradise - no.
In summary, the hotels was good value for money, but you need to get wise fast to the local vendors intruding your pool space. Extras are expensive. Caters mainly for Russians and it's all a little tacky in places. All said, the staff at the hotel are typically nice, genuine and friendly, although some, like most places in the world, are doing what they can to get money off you.
Oh, almost forgot, if you are going there for SCUBA Diving, don't. The Piano Dive Centre is a joke and like Fawlty Towers. I planned to do a number of dives, but after 2, I called it a day. I've done about 30 dives in the Red Sea, all of them fantastic and all of them safe. We had a group of 3 divers booked on one trip, found that when we got to the boat it was one of these glass bottom boats, about 20 ft long, no space at all to move around and also had 4 crew, 7 snorkellers and a couple fishing (who was subsequently told by the trourist police to stop fishing. The rod and the trip were sold by the Diving Centre. It's a National Park for goodness sake). Besides the small boat which was literally falling apart, the outboard broke down at sea, could not get it started at the pier (until someone relaised the fuel cut-off was on. This is a Comedy written for you) and there was no Oxygen on the boat, which is regulation for Dive boats. I also heard from another guest that they were running dive trips on a 15 ft rubber inflatable. No joke.
I would say this is a 4 star resort trying hard to make out it's 5 star.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Stella Di Mare Makadi Beach Resort & Spa is located in the prominent Makadi Bay area, on Egypt's beautiful Red Sea Riviera. Makadi is a peaceful bay with many opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. The semi-tropical climate makes this both a summer and winter resort. With its warm, healthy climate and the beauties of the coral reefs, this is a place to delight sun seekers and water sports enthusiasts alike. Makadi Bay is a convenient 25km south of Hurghada International Airport. The location makes it easy to access the town of Hurghada, and there are many other notable places of interest nearby, such as the island of Giftun, which is a Marine National Park, where desert and marine life are protected by law. In fact, much of the Red Sea area has a protected status. The Stella Makadi Resort & Spa is situated on a white sandy beach, and has a spectacular house reef very close by, which guests may use for snorkeling. In addition to the natural beauty of its setting, the resort has the advantage of many facilities and services to ensure a holiday that offers a wide choice of activities. There is a Spa and Health club, a shopping mall and a discotheque, to name just a few Stella Makadi Resort & Spa guests are assured of dedicated service, with all their needs taken care of in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Stella Makadi Hotel Makadi Bay